Flat buyers guide for beginners please!(5 Posts)
Found the flat and had the offer accepted - yay!
Last bought a house 20+ years ago....do know nothing..
Getting quotes for a house buyers report and conveyencing. What to look out for - swindles etc ?
Any thing else ?
We have the cash and want to move ASAP. The flat is in a newish block and looks fine ( we did at least look at the outside and electrics / heating !).
Get a good solicitor, who is very used to reading leases. This is probably the most important part of conveyancing when buying a flat.
A badly read and misunderstood lease can cost the buyer thousands for years to come.
Think carefully about whether you want a flat - more often than not newbuilds are money pits in terms of service charge and unless you're lucky the management company will be useless, money grabbing bastards.
However, having said that I appreciate a flat may be the only option financially.
Like JT05 said, the lease is key. How long is left on it? Don't touch anything with less than 80 years to go and be prepared for the fact that anything with less than 100 years to go is going to cost you quite a bit to extend (assuming you might want to sell in next 20 years)
It's new, but how new? Has the NHBC 10 year warranty expired?
Go and ring on some buzzers and speak to the neighbours. what's the soundproofing like (unfortunately tends to be poor), how is the management company, how much is the service charge and ground rent, any issues with neigbours (I lived in a block where some people used to leave rubbish outside the bin store rather than in it, presumably because they had lost the key / were just bone idle...)
Parking can be non-existant or overcrowded if it is provided (people nicking your space - this is exacerbated by fact that Councils only give developers permission for new blocks if they agree that the residents of the newly built units will not be eligible for a residents parking permit. Many people don't realise this - whether or not it would apply depends on how old the flat you're looking at is...
There are lots of positives about living in new build flats - they look neat and tidy, they are warm and well insulated (thermally, if not for noise), low energy costs, modern appliances, fitted bathrooms and kitchens, but don't let your heart overrule your head when you see all the shiny kitchens and polished glass!
One other thing to ask the neighbours could be the quality of the fittings and fixtures - unlike a house everyone in the block likely has the exact same boiler and radiators, and the exact same plumbing, fitted by the exact same builders. If something goes wrong in one flat it will probably be a problem that's replicated across the block. I speak from experience: when we rented a brand new flat the en-suite upstairs was leaking into our en-suite ceiling, the bath upstairs was leaking into our bathroom ceiling and the boiler was leaking. 15 flats in the block had issues with their plumbing too, so ask the neighbours how everything is. If they're happy it's likely your flat will be hassle free too!
(I'm sorry if I sound doom and gloom! I was very happy in that flat!)
Thanks all! It's a lovely flat and the lady (40s?) has owned it for some years and lived there. Lease >120yrs. Ground rent and buildings insurance £40/month and she did quote some repairs that had been done ( eg tiles of the roof in high wind that needed special access equipment and there was no excess charge to the owner).
Need to talk to the neighbours !
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